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davorg (18)

Yahoo! ID: daveorguk (Add User, Send Message)

Hacker, author, trainer

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Journal of davorg (18)

Friday April 18, 2003
11:40 AM

Full Disclosure

[ #11724 ]

I like to think that I'm a pretty decent bloke to deal with, so I'm appalled to realise that I've been far from it in at least one area over the last couple of years. I'd like to explain here just what a dickhead I've been.

You may already know parts of the story of my interaction with Liz Castro the author of Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web. You probably only know the parts of it which make me look a lot better than I probably should. Here's the full story.

I first came to Liz's attention when I wrote a very scathing review of the first edition of her book on Amazon. We exchanged a couple of emails and she realised that I did have a couple of good ideas to improve her book. She asked me to act as a technical reviewer on the second edition and I agreed. At this point I asked Amazon to remove my review and promised to replace it when the second edition was published.

We then went into a period where she would email me PDFs of the new text and I'd reply with technical corrections. Finally the book was finished and Liz was kind enough to give me a nice credit in it. When she send me a copy of it I emailed her praising it profusely. I think I wrote positive things about it here and in other places but they weren't as enthusiastic as I was in private email to Liz.

Another thing that had been going on at the same time was that I (with occasional help from other london.pmers) had been helping out on the message board that supports the readers of Liz's book. Whilst I'm sure that some good advice was dispensed, I have to wonder about my motives. It sometimes seemed that we were more interested in entertaining ourselves than helping others. It was then that the whole "use strict is gay" thing first appeared.

So, this went on for about a year and one day I realised that I hadn't written the Amazon review that I'd promised. So I did so. My new review was an improvement on my first one, but it fell far short of the enthusiasm that I'd shown in private emails to Liz. She wrote me an understandably angry email asking me to stay away from her message board.

This is when I started acting like a complete idiot. I started thinking that only I could help the newbies on her board and started posting under pseudonym. At one point Liz deleted one of my posts. I accused her publically (here, in fact) of censorship and it all turned very nasty. When she posted a reply to my journal demonstrating what a dick I'd been, I just deleted the whole journal entry.

And I still didn't have the sense to just walk away. I continued to post to her board under a pseudonym. I only stopped ten days ago when Liz emailed me pointing out in no uncertain terms how badly I had behaved.

So anyway there it is. I've been a complete prat. I'm not going to try to explain any of my actions. I want to publically apologise to Liz Castro for the damage I've done to her reputation. Oh, and I've edited my Amazon review. Don't know how long that will take to appear.

A couple of the points that Liz has raised in her recent emails to me tie in pretty well with the whole Shlomi Fish debate that's been going on around here recently and I can't help thinking that Liz is exactly the kind of person who we should be trying to get involved in the documentation project that Schwern has suggested.

But I'll probably leave it until later in the weekend to write more about that.

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  • Congrats! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ovid (2709) on 2003.04.18 12:03 (#19274) Homepage Journal

    I know how hard it can be to come out and publically apologize about things, so I congratulate you on doing this. I've had to eat crow a few times and it's never fun.

    I think being willing to step up to the plate and take full responsibility for one's actions is a great thing. I hope others look to you as an example for this.

  • by VSarkiss (704) on 2003.04.18 16:25 (#19280) Journal

    It's great that you came up and filled in the story, and publicly declared what went wrong. But remember, good intentions are just part of it: the important part is to follow up with positive actions. Unless I mis-read your note, that was the problem in the past.

    I don't know if Easter weekend holds any special meaning for you, but this is a great time to review, reflect, and resolve. (Oh yeah, and alliterate. ;-)

  • it's being really damn creepy. If you're that OCD about Liz and nms and perl stuff in general, I'd strongly recommend a several week holiday in the BVI without your laptop. Seriously, it's nice you fessed up but that's some seriously fucked up weird shit that you may not have stopped doing if she hadn't pressed matters. Take a holiday Dave.

    • I wonder if you would consider it as creepy if Liz were not female. To me, it seems like just being a dick, not being stalky/creepy. I don't require a response from you, hfb, just my idle wonderings. :-)
      • Honestly? No, probably not. This is the same kind of weird shit you see on CLPM and IT'S FREAKY. Maybe it's just 'being a dick' around perl but in the real world most people would likely consider it extremely abnormal behaviour with overtones of OCD. If you like, I could harrass you similarly and see what you think after a day or two. :) I commend Liz for busting him for it but it probably happens a lot more frequently where the women just don't say anything and go off to somewhere else. It's probably somet

        • Of course, what the hell do I know as the fashion around Perl is that just about every person with an 'obvious' female name is actually a lurking Dutchman embracing his inner sassy girlfriend.
          LOL. Dan's Rule #1 of the Internet: Everyone is male until proven otherwise.
          • :) Well, I just find it weird that so many guys want to play women around here as I spent years on BBS's and Usenet as a man since, in my experience, it made life much easier and fuckwit free[er].

            • for historical reasons, one of my nicks is female. I would have changed it, but in various movie and tv vcd channels, I found I was more likely to get people to send me stuff and give me logins on their server if they assumed I was female.
              • Maybe I hung out on the wrong BBS's as I've never gotten anything being a woman on-line....I did get a stalker or two, however.... Doesn't it strike you as odd though, that in a community so devoid of women that most of the people who claim to be women are actually guys? Even that perl gurl troll in clpm is a guy. I find it a bit creepy sometimes.

                • Have you ever tried to get stuff online due to being a woman? It does strike me as odd that a guy would pretend to be a woman in an online perl community, if they don't otherwise have gender identity issues. About 7 years ago we signed up an email account as 'Mildred Bastardwank-Humperknicker' in order to send someone a joke email. Since then mildred has been my standard nick when I want to remain anonymous. In certain warez and divx/vcd forums, mildred often finds herself besieged with guys offering to
            • Well for my part, Barbie is a nickname I've had for nearly 20 years. The initial nickname was originally an attempt at an insult. It later got abreviated. Seeing as most people were introduced to me personally as Barbie, including many MD of the companies I've worked for, and clients previously no-one has ever questioned my gender. In my role as a lighting engineer in the music business, having an unusual moniker helped people remember you and call you up for work. Only in recent years have people thought I